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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Online Profile Pet Peeves

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Online Dating Profile Pet Peeves

Even when I hit a dating dry spell, whether by choice or not, I still browse through online dating sites.  It’s a bit like window shopping, which is part of the fun. 

But lately, I’ve noticed something disturbing, at least with men’s profiles.  There seems to be a rash of poorly written, poorly thought out, and poorly presented profiles on many sites I’ve been to.   Being a writer, not to mention a single, intelligent gal, this immediately turns me off. 

We live in a modern age.  Every computer that I’m familiar with has a spell check function.  Why not use it?  Besides the whole grammar hang-up, a poorly written profile tells me that the person is not taking their search very seriously.  How am I supposed to believe that a person is sincere when they say they’re looking for a “relayshonship”? 


I realize that I must come across as a snob.  I know there are plenty of people out there who wouldn’t list “English” or “writing” as strong points, and that’s OK.  If that’s the case, then ask someone to help you write your profile.  At least have someone proofread it.   Spell check is helpful, but it won’t catch things like “though” when you meant to write “thought”.  I’m also not saying that you need to sound like you swallowed a dictionary.  Don’t forget—your profile is supposed to be a reflection of you, so don’t feel you have to be (or sound) like someone you’re not. 

There were quite a few articles on this topic when I did a search on the Online Dating Magazine site, so if you’re totally clueless about where to start, they should help.  I’ve been doing the online dating thing for quite a few years, so I have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things to include, and those I won’t even consider.  I’m listing a few of my “profile pet peeves”—if you have any of these things on your profile, you may want to consider giving it an overhaul.  I realize that everyone is different, so this is just one girl’s opinion:

  • “I don’t know what to say about myself”, “It’s hard to describe myself.”  This is in about every third profile I scroll through.  In all fairness, it is hard to describe yourself—so ask your friends or family to do it for you.  We tend to be our own worst critics, so it would be very easy to sell yourself short in the “bio” department.  Your potential dates want to know something about you, but be careful not to sound too arrogant—no one likes an egomaniac.

  • Photos of you wearing sunglasses.  They make you look cool, but it’s hard to tell what you look like behind the shades.  I wouldn’t recommend using such a photo for your default picture. 

  • Photos of animals.  You might love your dog more than life itself, but honestly?  I’m sure I’ll learn more about your best buddy when we meet.  I don’t need to see 5 photos of Fido when I’m more interested in seeing you.  Ditto for the fish you caught last summer.  Another thing I’ve been noticing—faraway nature shots.  Your vacation to the Grand Canyon looked amazing, but a photo of you from 10 feet away isn’t really helping.  It’s even worse if it’s just a photo of the Grand Canyon, and you’re not even in it!

  • Old photos.   In high school you were the quarterback with 6-pack abs.  Or ladies, maybe you were the homecoming queen.  Chances are, both of those milestones were many years ago.  Be sure you’re posting a photo that shows what you actually look like now, warts (or the few extra pounds) and all.  Don’t worry—no one looks like they did in high school or college.  If you decide to meet someone, the truth will come out anyway—it’s better to be honest from the start.

  • Cheesy headings.  “Do your feet hurt?  ‘Cause you’ve been running through my mind!”, “If I wrote the alphabet I’d put U and I together”—if the corny pickup lines worked, we’d be at the bar and not online trying to avoid the bar scene.  Though heading are almost as difficult to write as the bio, try to avoid the clichés.  Girls can spot them a mile away, and after rolling their eyes and getting a good laugh at the profile you were just slaving over, they’ll label you a “player” and go on to the next one. 

  • 1—2 sentence descriptions.   You don’t need to write your entire life story, but it’s helpful to say a little about yourself.  A descriptive 3—5 sentence paragraph is a good place to start.  Talk about what you’re looking for, your interests, and even some qualities you definitely don’t want.  And don’t forget to use spell check!

Related Links:
> Online Dating Profile Pet Peeves (Part Two)
> Online Profile Tips for Online Daters (Office Hours with Dr. Jim)
> Online Dating Profile Tips (aritcle)
> Writing a Profile Ad That Increases Your Attraction (feature)

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Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon.

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